Category: Men’s Fiction

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Wildfire comes to Shelter Creek! within the pages of Clarie McEwen’s “Rescuing the Rancher”!

Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, in September 2020 in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.

I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now. However in regards to reading “Rescuing the Rancher” – I had difficulty getting into the storyline until recently due to the fact the backdrop of the story is set against wildfires – for whichever reason the topic and subject of wildfires hit closer to home for me than originally anticipated. I’ll be sharing my review for “Rescuing the Rancher” after “Second Chance Cowboy” as it is part of the Harlequin Heartwarming reviews forthcoming to Jorie Loves A Story. I was thankful I could read it ahead of the fifth novel as now I am concurrently connected through all the stories!

I received a complimentary copy of “Rescuing the Rancher” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This is one of my top favourite #CowboyRomances by Harlequin Heartwarming:

When I was checking my feeds on Twitter (in Autumn 2020), I stumbled on an announcement by Ms McEwen who was seeking book bloggers to read and review her latest release of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series – wherein I was most excited seeing the notice posted as this is one of the Western & Cowboy Romance series I love reading the most published by Harlequin Heartwarming!

I wasn’t sure if I would be in time to request the book for review, but I immediately emailed the author and the rest knitted together out of that conversation! I am so thankful I contacted her when I had as it lead me to being reading this second of the series I had missed between books one and three as much as I have been wanting to host more of the authors I love via Harlequin Heartwarming and/or Love Inspired Suspense – having the Blackwell Brothers / Sisters authors booked during @SatBookChat in October, it was a lovely surprise to have Ms McEwen booked for early September!

If you’re a ready reader of Westerns and Western Romances, I hope this showcase might inspire you to give Harlequin Heartwarming a chance at winning over your love of Westerns because the authors who are writing these stories are writing wicked brilliant characters with stories which lift your spirits as you’re reading them! Plus, the settings alone are awe-inspiring and give you the kind of Western experience you are hoping for in a Western Rom!

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On a special note: This review is part of my celebrations for my 8th Blogoversary of Jorie Loves A Story! On the 31st of March, 2013 I created my blog and launched myself onto this beautiful journey I’ve taken as a book blogger! I had no idea where this blog was going to take me – both in the realms of literature or in the community of book bloggers – nor in the wider expanse of #bookTwitter,… what an incredible adventure it has been for me to watch myself grow into the blogger I am today.

I wanted to ring in the 8th Year with new reviews for #HarlequinHeartwarming as it has become my top favourite publisher imprint (alongside Love Inspired Suspense) for the past five years!! These are the years which brought a lift shift into my family (per my father’s stroke, Nov 2016) and it was through these stories of relationship-based romance which grounded me in the backdrop of small townes, family-centered story-lines and wicked sweet dynamically real characters. I have celebrated my blogoversary in the past with Heartwarming taking centre stage (per my 6th Blogoversary in particular) and during my 8th, two years later – my love and affection to these authors who continue to enrich my readerly life deserves continue recognition with a big note of GRATITUDE.

They have given me such a wonderful landscape of Contemporary Romances in which to entreat – whilst their larger print editions are kind to the eyes and heart of a migrainuer. It is with a hearty burst of JOY I am celebrating the Heroes of Shelter Creek today and return on the morrow to see my review for the latest in Carol Ross’s Seasons of Alaska – which I read during my 5th Year and celebrated on my 6th Blogoversary! Sometimes life has a way of coming full circle!!

Whilst throughout April and May you’ll be seeing me eagerly devour and discuss the Butterfly Harbour series by Anna J. Stewart, the next four installments (out of five) of the Blackwell Sisters series by the collective genius of Carol Ross, Amy Vastine, Cari Lynn Webb, Melinda Curtis and Anna J. Stewart as well as a review for Beth Carpenter’s series the Northern Lights!! Let’s all continue to celebrate stories and authors who give us such a hearty #randomJOY of #bookLOVE throughout the year and continue to champion their stories both online and off to everyone who likes to listen to our readerly lives.

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A preview of why I feel so dearly attached inside this series:

McEwen threaded in the issues with childhood abandonment and the emotional baggage children take with them in being placed outside their home. Even though this is a story about kinship placement between nieces, a nephew and an Uncle; the larger reach of the issues developed out of the conditions of their home life prior to entering their stay with Jace had such a levelling of strife and guttingly difficult emotional anguish attached to their survival that even Jace was quickly picking up on the fact no man is an island. It is okay to reach out for help and to seek advice as it is needed to best help the children and to find new paths towards solid ground.

The kindness of Jace’s third grade teacher melted my heart – she was one of those everyday characters who fits so well in the background of the story but has such a lot of depth of heart to share with you as you’re reading her sequences in the narrative. In many ways, she’s still able to positively affect Jace’s life now as an adult as she apparently had as a child. There are moments wherein Jace is re-tracing his own memories as he shifts into fatherhood; struggling to resolve some of those past hurts against the current issues he needs to focus on to be a better father for his nieces and nephews. None of it is quick and easy – its a long road towards finding the healing he and they will need to embrace together and that is what McEwen wrote best: the moments of a new family emerging out of the ashes of an old one.

Being able to back-track in the series right now – seeing how Vivian first met Trisha and how these women along with Maya formed such a strong unity of a team for being wildlife warriors was such a special treat for me as a reader! It was a beautiful time capsule – getting to knit together the missing pieces between the first and third installments; etching out more of the girth of the series whilst finding myself so dearly connected to this installment as well. The whole series itself is full of characters you are excited to meet and become familiar with because of how McEwen granted you such wonderful licence to walk beside them and find your own way to fit into their lives.

I truly understood the complicated web of choices befuddling the calm of Vivian – how much was too much stress? And when does positive stress turn to negative stress? How do you balance your own mental health with the needs of others and how do you turn off your emotional responses when life has a way of sneaking up on you whilst your focusing on rebuilding your career? Vivian was moving through the same emotional tides as Jace just from a different entry point. They both had too much to juggle and yet, their paths had crossed and there was a murmuring of interest bubbling under the surface of their heated conversations. Heated of course because they were both stubbornly prideful of their own opinions and they each believed the other was right when they could learn to concede and compromise a bit to get more done that worked for them both.

I could definitely relate to Vivian wanting to keep her health issues private but as I learnt over the years, at some point it is better to be transparent about a chronic health issue than to try to hide it (ie. my migraines) as it just doesn’t serve a purpose. When you have a chronic issue that effects your life at different intervals of time, it is better to simply state why you’re having a bad day or having difficulties doing normal things you love doing than to try to shirk out of owning the truth which could lead to misunderstandings. I felt McEwen knew exactly the internal conversation everyone has about how much to keep private, when to share a health issue and how to find balance when your medical issues start to overtake your life.

I loved how realistically this story was penned – how McEwen tackled the harder topics of kinship placements wherein rather than seeing the world through your own eyes you have to start to see the world through foster care eyes – which comes with its own set of rules, restrictions and regulations about the home, your property and the friends you keep in your company. The rules are in place to keep the kids safe first and foremost but their a bit lengthy and the process towards a home study for any foster placement takes a lot of patience to work through the list of what needs to be fixed in order to pass inspection. Simple things like keeping medicine in a cabinet has to be stored in a locked cabinet and the same with cleaning supplies under the counter – but the larger issues are effectively what McEwen tackled with Jace’s friendship with Caleb. How this veteran who had invisible scars of service had a struggle with anger and his temper – something that was flagged by social services. These kinds of judgement calls are hard to process and to sort through whilst working towards the final acceptance by your social worker and I felt McEwen humbled Jace by having to juggle both his internal struggles as a new father and the responsibilities this presented as a foster kinship parent.

There is a conscience of environmentalism at the heart of this story as well – from conservation, preservation and the connectedness of the living ecosystem concurrently alive next to our own habitats of modern living. The natural world places a strong role in this novel as much as McEwen has found a way to re-adjust our understanding about wildlife and the curious ways in which nature ‘finds us’ when we least expect to be seen ourselves. One of my absolute favourite passages of any story which is pro-positively focusing on the environment and/or the natural world is within After the Rodeo. McEwen shared a notation about trees and how they use biochemical communication – it is by extension a theory of my own about the old soul murmurings of trees and how these stoic giants in our world say more as silent warriors against time than any word we could express ourselves about the amount of time they’ve witnessed. There is another saying about how if you spend time next to a tree it begins to whisper to you as well – trees have ancient wisdom and ancient knowledge; we’d be wise to respect them more than we do as a global society.

McEwen showed the realities of how two persons who had zero interest in meeting someone could find themselves in a love story being knitted out of happenstance and serendipity! It is also a story that celebrates found families and how the beauty of life is truly a life that is shared with people who love you – however which way they enter your life, their the true blessing which enrich our hours in far more ways than we can ever hope to foresee being possible. This story truly touched my heart and soul because of how much of a life it celebrates that I would love to have for myself one day. I cannot hug it enough and the characters who burst to life off the pages of Ms McEwen’s soulful romantic style which etches itself into your memories.

-quoted from my book review of After the Rodeo

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Wildfire comes to Shelter Creek! within the pages of Clarie McEwen’s “Rescuing the Rancher”!Rescuing the Rancher
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

She'll help protect his ranch...
And heal his heart

Firefighter Jade Carson needs to get the local residents out of a wildfire's path, but Aidan Bell isn't moving. Still grieving a tragedy, the stubborn rancher plans to stay and save his animals Jade and Aidan battle the blaze on his property, only to feel he spark of something unexpected. Secrets are shared, hope kindles... but can they leave the past's ashes behind and let love grow?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335889867

Also by this author: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Second Chance Cowboy


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 8th September, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

Reunited with the Cowboy by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo by Claire McEwenHer Surprise Cowboy by Claire McEwenRescuing the Rancher by Claire McEwen

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Reunited with the Cowboy (book one) – Caleb & Maya’s story (see also Review)

After the Rodeo (book two) – Jace & Vivian’s story (see also Review)

Her Surprise Cowboy (book three) – Liam & Trisha’s story (see also Review)

Rescuing the Rancher (book four) – Aidan & Jade’s story

Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – Wes & Emily’s story (see also Review)

I’ll admit – I was a bit worried this was ending as a quartet until I spied the release for 2021 via FantasticFiction which is my main resource for sourcing advance notice about series I am reading when new installments of those series will be revealled in forthcoming months.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #CowboyRomance, #WesternRomance & #ContemporaryRomance
as well as #HarlequinHeartwarming with #HeroesOfShelterCreek

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Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, California, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Solutions, Family Drama, Family Life, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nature & Wildlife, Preservation, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, The Natural World, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Women's Fiction

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Celebrating my love of the #HeroesOfShelterCreek series by Claire McEwen with my review for “Second Chance Cowboy”!

Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, in September 2020 in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.

I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now. However in regards to reading “Rescuing the Rancher” – I had difficulty getting into the storyline until recently due to the fact the backdrop of the story is set against wildfires – for whichever reason the topic and subject of wildfires hit closer to home for me than originally anticipated. I’ll be sharing my review for “Rescuing the Rancher” after “Second Chance Cowboy” as it is part of the Harlequin Heartwarming reviews forthcoming to Jorie Loves A Story. I was thankful I could read it ahead of the fifth novel as now I am concurrently connected through all the stories!

I received a complimentary copy of “Second Chance Cowboy” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. I originally was going to purchase a copy of this novel however the publication date changed and blessedly Ms McEwen was able to send me a copy of the novel otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to read and review the novel in time for the blog tour.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This is one of my top favourite #CowboyRomances by Harlequin Heartwarming:

If you’re a ready reader of Westerns and Western Romances, I hope this showcase might inspire you to give Harlequin Heartwarming a chance at winning over your love of Westerns because the authors who are writing these stories are writing wicked brilliant characters with stories which lift your spirits as you’re reading them! Plus, the settings alone are awe-inspiring and give you the kind of Western experience you are hoping for in a Western Rom!

I’ve had the joy of reading the Shelter Creek series from the beginning whilst I read a few out of sequence as well. I happily caught up with the series ahead of this installment giving me the chance to see Emily right before her story was being told, too! What I love most about how Ms McEwen approached writing this series is the firm presence of community and family; I love seeing series develop which feature both the family you’ve been bourne into and the family you find in the community in which you live. There are all kinds of families in the world and one wicked good thing about reading Harlequin Heartwarming is the celebration of different kinds of family and the unique ways neighbours can become as close as those persons we grew up alongside.

This is one of those close-knit communities you will love re-visiting due to how community focused the towne is and how reliant they are on helping each other to get through the adversities of life. It is a sweet series in that regard because former characters being showcased in the different installments return to make guest appearances lateron in the series whilst the entire series has a wonderful breadth of continuity from one book into the next! This is definitely for readers who love reading romantic dramas set in a Western atmosphere and setting.

Heroes of Shelter Creek and Karen Rock’s Rocky Mountain Cowboys are equal compliments of each other due to how both writers approached writing their series. In regards to Rock’s series – it has been a few years since I could find an update about both the series and the writer; I am still trying to get a hold of the prequel novel to round out my collection of the Rocky Mountain Cowboys as I have my eye on copies filtering into Thrift Books (as of course due to its age its OOP otherwise) – however, in case this series catches your eye, know you’ll want to read Rock’s series next! OR if you’ve read the Rocky Mountain Cowboys you’ll simply *devour!* McEwen’s Heroes of Shelter Creek!

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McEwen starts to describe the wildfire encroaching on Aidan’s ranch the way I recognise hearing about them on the news – whilst at the same time, I believe it would be harder for her to write this story due to how close she is to the actual danger of having a wildfire in your backyard! I know it never fails to affect me whenever I know a friend or author is near a fire and riding out the news updates is emotionally draining! Yet, somehow she found a way through all of that and found a way to create such a realistically dramatic story wherein you truly feel your with Aidan as he’s trying to resolve an emergency before it becomes a catastrophic event!

This is where McEwen excells at showcasing how her characters are willing to not just go the extra mile for what they believe in but they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to reach a goal that others might not be willing to risk. She also hones in on the smaller details – the origins of the smoke as it starts to set into the ridgeline of where Aidan’s ranch is located and the intensity of how it starts off a slowly creeping smell and starts to turn into a toxic pollutant that is inhibiting the ability to breathe properly.

I have admired how McEwen has brought in both knowledge and Science into her novels within the Shelter Creek series but what I loved about this installment is how it spoke towards a ready knowledge of wildfires and the ways in which people with land need to be prepared. There is a lot of prep work which goes into ensuring that your safety and the safety of your property is maintained. This includes fire breaks and clearing anything that could burn away from essential areas of your land and property. One of the downfalls of falling short of maintaining those priorities is shown in Rescuing the Rancher. The only bit of trivia I knew ahead of reading this novel was that the Burr Oak can help as a firebreak or shield on property because the fire can’t burn the tree – it is generally used on land to set a barrier in wildfire country.

I truly loved how McEwen shifted between the raging wildfire and how it moves across fields destroying everything in its wake and then giving reason to its noises alerting her readers to why those noises are death sentences if you don’t keep your wits about you. The fire itself is an intense machine of artistry – how it carves its presence out of whatever is in its path and illuminates the world with a fiery glow of its power. McEwen captured this personality of the fire and also showcased what we’ve learnt to not just prevent fire but how to survive through a fire. This is definitely an eye-opener for anyone who wants to live down range out West or anywhere in a Western state or Southern Canada where wildfires are as common as dragonflies. Its a brilliant primer on what it takes to act on instinct and plan your actions of attack based on modern fire science.

In the aftermath of the fire, it took true courage for both Jade and Aidan to resolve what they had learnt through their ordeal. I was applauding like mad for Jade’s speech to her parents and brothers; she had simply reached the boiling point on that topic and it was such a wicked scene! Aidan on the other hand had a welcome wagon from Shelter Creek arrive to give him a boost of neighbourly love and encouragement as well as the kind of help one didn’t expect to receive but warmly was grateful was given.

By the conclusion I was wicked grateful I finally found my own courage to read this story! The title eludes to the layers of depth within it – how this isn’t merely about a rancher whose in over his head with a wildfire or a simple solution to a problem you can see on the surface of his life. This is a story about a man whose build himself a barrier with the outside world and its going to take a community effort to help him find a passage forward out from under the grief and sorrow he’s been sheltering under since his tragic loss. That’s where Jade steps in during a new crisis of his life and starts to unwind his emotions – the ways in which McEwen gets into the psychology of Aidan’s past and the current tidal waves of how the past is affecting his present were some of the best parts of the story because of how the undercurrent of this romantic plot is firmly hinged against the will of one man to accept that everyone deserves both forgiveness and happiness in equal measures throughout their lives.

-quoted from my book review of Rescuing the Rancher
The full review of this will be featured during #RomanceTuesdays 30th March!
Coincidentally part of my 8th Blogoversary posts!!

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Celebrating my love of the #HeroesOfShelterCreek series by Claire McEwen with my review for “Second Chance Cowboy”!Second Chance Cowboy
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

He was her first love…
But some things she can’t forget

Busy small-town veterinarian Emily Fielding is finally ready to take on some help. The best man for the job, however, is Wes Marlow—who broke her heart in high school. Though Wes has a way with horses and a way of melting her resolve, Emily needs to keep things purely professional. Wes left her once—will he do it again? Because she can’t lose her heart a second time…

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335179784

Also by this author: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Rescuing the Rancher

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Rescuing the Rancher


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 9th March, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

Reunited with the Cowboy by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo by Claire McEwenHer Surprise Cowboy by Claire McEwen

Rescuing the Rancher by Claire McEwenSecond Chance Cowboy by Claire McEwen

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Reunited with the Cowboy (book one) – Caleb & Maya’s story (see also Review)

After the Rodeo (book two) – Jace & Vivian’s story (see also Review)

Her Surprise Cowboy (book three) – Liam & Trisha’s story (see also Review)

Rescuing the Rancher (book four) – Aidan & Jade’s story

→ my review will shared on the 30th of March!

Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – Wes & Emily’s story

→ Book Six is forthcoming August, 2021!!

I’ll admit – I was a bit worried this was ending as a quartet until I spied the release for 2021 via FantasticFiction which is my main resource for sourcing advance notice about series I am reading when new installments of those series will be revealled in forthcoming months.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #CowboyRomance, #WesternRomance & #ContemporaryRomance
as well as #HarlequinHeartwarming with #HeroesOfShelterCreek

About Claire McEwen (2021)

Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen is an award-winning author whose strong heroes and heroines take big, emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-afters. She loves writing stories set in quirky small towns and romantic western settings. Claire lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she’s a busy mom who also enjoys gardening, hiking, discovering flea-market treasures and wandering on the beach. A life-long bookworm, she always has her kindle close by.

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Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, California, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Family Drama, Family Life, Foster Care, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Nature & Wildlife, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, Western Fiction, Western Romance

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | “After the Rodeo” (Book Two of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwen

Posted Tuesday, 1 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, this September in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful that Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.

I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now.

I received a complimentary copy of “After the Rodeo” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This is one of my top favourite #CowboyRomances by Harlequin Heartwarming:

When I was checking my feeds on Twitter a short while ago, I stumbled on an announcement by Ms McEwen who was seeking book bloggers to read and review her latest release of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series – wherein I was most excited seeing the notice posted as this is one of the Western & Cowboy Romance series I love reading the most published by Harlequin Heartwarming!

I wasn’t sure if I would be in time to request the book for review, but I immediately emailed the author and the rest knitted together out of that conversation! I am so thankful I contacted her when I had as it lead me to being reading this second of the series I had missed between books one and three as much as I have been wanting to host more of the authors I love via Harlequin Heartwarming and/or Love Inspired Suspense – having the Blackwell Brothers / Sisters authors booked during @SatBookChat in October, it was a lovely surprise to have Ms McEwen booked for early September!

If you’re a ready reader of Westerns and Western Romances, I hope this showcase might inspire you to give Harlequin Heartwarming a chance at winning over your love of Westerns because the authors who are writing these stories are writing wicked brilliant characters with stories which lift your spirits as you’re reading them! Plus, the settings alone are awe-inspiring and give you the kind of Western experience you are hoping for in a Western Rom!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

One interesting turn at the beginning of the novel was learning about the changing tides of the cattle industry – how traditional cattlemen and ranchers wanted to turn towards a greener and healthier way of producing their product and why that was an important resurgency in how they could maintain their ranches. Not that all ranchers were open to innovative changes which McEwen happily discloses within Liam’s own family as his brothers are spilt on the issue whilst their father is keenly invested in learning more – hence, how we find Liam is the chosen one to visit with Jace in Shelter Creek!

I, for one love all sorts of Western Romances however it is a bit rarer when within a Contemporary Western we get to talk about how ranching is trying to change its habits and become a more sustainable industry. Across the board farmers and ranchers are having to diversify their yields yearly due to different issues in climate and how to sustain themselves during leaner years wherein I felt broaching the topic of how they approach ranching their land and their cattle is also a valid point because there is a stark difference between big industry and keeping family ranchers in business by modifying their practices to reach a more educated consumer about the differences in those practices. To say I was wholly intrigued by how this novel began is putting it mildly!

Liam is at a cornerstone of his life – where he has to choose to step forward into his future rather than constantly think he cannot handle what life has to offer. This is an intriguing story about redemption – how a man can redeem his own image and identity of himself post trauma and addiction and redirect his own life back onto a purposeful path which renews his own spirit. The foundation of how McEwen laid that down for us to find was lovely because there was a moment where I felt Jace could inspire Liam simply by someone who had gone before him and had to re-alter his own opinion about what life could involve for a man who had a determined view of his own path. Even though I hadn’t had the chance to read After the Rodeo, McEwen gave some lovely hints toward Jace’s own story where I felt I could intuit why she wanted Liam closer to Jace during this transitional period of his own life.

Trisha has such a unique job at the wildlife center – I remember visiting those whilst growing up and wondering about the people who worked there. As I was fascinated how close the handlers could get to the wild animals and how much trust was between the handler and/or trainer and the animal themselves – this is one reason why I love watching shows and series like Crikey! It’s the Irwins because you get to see inside this hidden world of where animals and humans have united together for their own protection and conservation. Trisha has a heart of gold though – even though her life’s story is unconventional – it just suits her personality because she adapts to whatever is happening in her life in the moment. I liked her instantly where we find her in Her Surprise Cowboy because of how earnest she is about finding what Jace and Vivian share between them and how confident she is in her own abilities to give back to the center.

It was humbling coming into Jace and Vivian’s life a bit second-handed to get to know them in such an interpersonal way – because a lot of what anchoured Liam and Trisha together was through the fusion of friendship with Jace and Vivian. They really stepped up to the plate to help out their friends whilst they also offered a lot of heartfelt mentoring. Jace especially gave a lot back to Liam – as I had a feeling they would relate to one another as I was first starting to read this story – both lived the same kind of life in their prior lives and I believed that gave them each a unique perspective on the other. Liam and Trisha needed friends like them because they each were muddling through their own struggles where having a kind friend to lean on would go the extra mile towards finding resolution to what troubled them. Now more than ever I can’t wait to settle into the story of what drew Jace and Vivian together – as there are pieces of their romance peppered inside Her Surprise Cowboy but one day I’ll appreciate reading start to finish!

There is a certain layer of joy in reading a story about second chance romance, new beginnings and the redemption quality of forgiveness. Not just the kind of forgiveness others can give to you themselves but the kind of forgiveness that comes from within the person. A lot of the story is hinged on whether or not Liam and Trisha can find solace from their past and find a way to give themselves the leverage of understanding who they were in the past is not an indication of whom they could become in the future. That’s the rub about the human condition in us all – in not allowing ourselves the wallowing periods of never seeing past mistakes or wrong turns on our path and to continue to seek out the future with an optimistic impression of what we can achieve. By following the footsteps of Liam and Trisha you’re set to find out how forgiveness of one self can lead to a greater freedom than either Liam or Trisha could have envisioned for each other.

McEwen has conceived of a realistic Contemporary Western Romance series wherein each of her characters are struggling through and/or are transitioning through a difficult period of their lives. The realism is brilliantly layered as despite their obstacles and the hurdles they have to overcome there is a defining thread of individual courage and moxie uniting them. McEwen writes soul lifting Contemporary Romance which gives you what you want out of a modern Western Rom whilst grounding you in realistic lives which you can identify with due to how her characters are self-transitioning through the challenges which arise in all of our lives. The circumstances might differ between us and them but its their resolve to fight through to tomorrow which connects us.

-quoted from my book review of Her Surprise Cowboy

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | “After the Rodeo” (Book Two of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

Her passion for her job...
could cost him everything...

Former rodeo champion Jace Hendricks has six weeks to turn his run-down ranch around or he could lose custody of his nieces and nephews. But biologist Vivian Reed has to survey his land first - and she won't be rushed. Vivian's optimism and wonder start to win over the kids... and even Jace. But with all that's at stake, can he risk getting any more involved with Vivian?

Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Biological Diversity, Children At Risk, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ecology, Men's Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510815

Also by this author: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, Rescuing the Rancher

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, Second Chance Cowboy, Rescuing the Rancher


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd September, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 376

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

Reunited with the Cowboy by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo by Claire McEwenHer Surprise Cowboy by Claire McEwenRescuing the Rancher by Claire McEwen

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Reunited with the Cowboy (book one) – Caleb & Maya’s story (see also Review)

After the Rodeo (book two) – Jace & Vivian’s story

Her Surprise Cowboy (book three) – Liam & Trisha’s story (see also Review)

Rescuing the Rancher – Aidan & Jade’s story (book four)

Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – featuring ?? → forthcoming April, 2021!

I’ll admit – I was a bit worried this was ending as a quartet until I spied the release for 2021 via FantasticFiction which is my main resource for sourcing advance notice about series I am reading when new installments of those series will be revealled in forthcoming months.

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #CowboyRomance, #WesternRomance & #ContemporaryRomance
as well as #HarlequinHeartwarming with #HeroesOfShelterCreek

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7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This story received my award for Best Western Contemporary Romance:
subniche Cowboy & Ranchers Romance series

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Posted Tuesday, 1 September, 2020 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Addictions and Afflictions, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, California, Conservation, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Ecology, Environmental Activism, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Environmental Solutions, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Foster Care, Green-Minded Social Awareness, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nature & Wildlife, Non-traditional characters, Preservation, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services, Sudden Absence of Parent, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Sweet Romance, The Natural World, Walking & Hiking Trails, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Widows & Widowers, Women of a Certain Age, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “Solstice Shadows” (VanOps Series, Book Two) by Avanti Centrae also featuring the audiobook courtesy of #NetGalley!

Posted Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: This is marks my first blog tour I’ve hosted for Random Things Tours as a new book blogger working with them to either review and/or host guest author features on behalf of their authors. I was thankful to join their book blogger team and look forward to joining the tours which are highlighting the stories I actively enjoy reading and discovering.

Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “Solstice Shadows” direct from the publisher Thunder Creek Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story.

I also received a complimentary ARC copy of “Solstice Shadows” direct from the author Avanti Centrae in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein on either the complimentary ARC edition of this novel nor the NetGalley audiobook edition.

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On how I came to have this in both print and audiobook:

I have chronic migraines and the interesting thing about chronic migraines is how they can sometimes rob you of your short-term memory! In this particular case, I was excited to start requesting audiobooks via NetGalley. I had already confirmed a print copy of this novel was available for review on the blog tour which I celebrated as I knew this won’t always be the case as their not always available to request. I knew this series had a first novel ahead of “Solstice Shadows” and I was hopeful I could have found a copy of the first novel ahead of reading this sequel but my efforts were a bit in vain as I had two severe migraines back to back in mid-to-late July. And, this is around the time NetGalley was starting to offer their audiobooks for review.

I am a new member of NetGalley this year as previously I could not participate as the only editions they offered were ebooks which I cannot read per the aforementioned migraines. As I was browsing the audiobooks available, I noticed the author’s name for this audiobook was the same for an upcoming blog tour except I mistook the names of the titles in the series and ended up requesting the audiobook for “Solstice Shadows” which is the same book I received for review via an ARC for the blog tour. I was a bit mystified about how I made that error and mistake as it was a first for me to confuse the books in a series and which I was receiving for a blog tour. I consider that was owed to the dual migraines and the severity in which they were afflicting me.

However, this became the first audiobook I listened to via NetGalley and was able to review shortly after receiving it and for that I was grateful for the experience. Also, as I have had such a slow shift back into reading this past week – whilst reading “Magnolia Storms” (see also Review) and “Josette” (see also Review), I appreciated having the audiobook to listen to as I was reading the print copy of “Solstice Shadows” as it helped me work through the last fragments of a third migraine which afflicted me this past weekend.

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On why this novel appealled to me to read and listen via the audiobook:

It is a bit of a luxury to have a book in hand whilst I’m listening to an audiobook of the same book – as generally I colour as I’m listening to audiobooks to better help me ‘tune into the narrator’s voice’ however, there are times where I’ve been blessed to have both the book and the audiobook – this particular time round, I wasn’t expecting to have the audiobook which became an unexpected blessing. What drew me into the novel itself though – aside from the fact I overlooked not being able to read or listen to the first novel in the series (as I couldn’t source a copy from either my libraries and/or Scribd until it was too late to listen to “The Lost Power” – which is currently available on audiobook via Scribd) is the fact this is a Contemporary Thriller.

I’ve been reading Technothrillers and Contemporary Thrillers for a long while – in fact, I have the tendency of either reading them and/or seeing them on film or through a tv series. I still remember what it was like to see “Sneakers” for the first time starring Robert Redford (at the time of release!). This has been compared to Indiana Jones and by extension I would believe it might suit audiences of Lara Croft – though for me, Croft is Angelina Jolie’s role as she owned it so dearly well. Plus the only Dr Jones for me is Harrison Ford. Those were the nudges of what the story would be about prior to reading and listening to Solstice Shadows and why I was drawn into the premise.

After reading and hearing Tim Campbell narrate the story I can summarise the book in this way:

As the story begins on the premise of supercomputers and super conductors, a vague memory came back to me about this as I have read and seen other stories which talk about this part of technology. It is intriguing in some ways as it involves quantum computing on a superspeed level of accuracy and computation. Generally I enjoy reading about Quantum Physics, Quantum Mechanics and Supersymmetry – as it applies to AstroPhysics and beyond – however, when it comes to supercomputers and the speed in which information is both processed and assessed and then used by those who are behind the computer(s) themselves leads into a very cunningly thesis on how far afield technology is leading us and how much of ourselves and our privacy might be put into questionable risk therein.

Yet, instead of feeling invested in the pursuit of this technology, I spent my time trying to sort out the characters and the overall scope of the story instead. There are a lot of information dumps in this novel where you feel like there is a reason you’re being shown all of these scenes but they don’t quite interconnect the way I’d had hoped they would. I was left with more questions than answers and somewhere in the mix, I started to lose traction with the overall plot and the reason I first thought this might sound interesting to read.

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Blog Book Tour | “Solstice Shadows” (VanOps Series, Book Two) by Avanti Centrae also featuring the audiobook courtesy of #NetGalley!Solstice Shadows
Subtitle: A VanOps Thriller
by Avanti Centrae
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley, Direct from Author via Random Things Tours
Narrator: Tim Campbell

DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER in this multi-award-winning thriller series.

A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse?

Software expert Maddy Marshall isn't sure she's ready for a hazardous role in black ops. But when an armed Russian thief makes off with a rare ancient star chart, the aikido black belt has no choice but to join her VanOps boyfriend and twin brother in the pursuit. If her royal Spanish family legends are true, the chart leads to a superconductive treasure trove capable of powering a quantum computer used as the ultimate instrument of global destruction.

Setting off on a mad dash to uncover the secrets of a Mexican archeoastronomy site, she and the VanOps team unearth a clue dating back to biblical times. But as they race across the globe to the Sahara, Turkey, and Egypt, they find themselves only a half-step ahead of sinister assassins.

Before millions die at the hands of an anti-American Russian government, can Maddy crack the secret code?

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Thriller


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on NetGalley

ISBN: 978-1-7349662-2-0

Published by Thunder Creek Press

on 11th August, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley), Paperback ARC

Pages: 404

Length: 9 hours and 28 minutes and 25 seconds (unabridged)

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The VanOps Series:

SOLSTICE SHADOWS is the second book in the fast-paced, multi-award-winning VanOps thriller series. If you enjoy smart edge-of-your-seat suspense such as James Rollins THE LAST ODYSSEY, the Sean Wyatt series by Ernest Dempsey, the NOWHERE MAN by Gregg Hurwitz, ORIGIN by Dan Brown, Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone series, the Atlee Pine series by David Baldacci, or THE ORACLE by Clive Cussler, you’ll stay up late turning the pages of Avanti Centrae’s high-stakes novel.

VANOPS: THE LOST POWER was an instant Barnes and Noble best seller. A rare multi-award-winning novel, it took home a genre grand prize blue ribbon at the 2017 Chanticleer International Book Awards, an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival, and a shiny bronze medal at the 2019 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

The Lost Power (book one)

Solstice Shadows (book two)

Published by: Thunder Creek Press

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #Contemporary #Thriller as well as #VanOps and #SolsticeShadows

About Avanti Centrae

Avanti Centrae

International award-winning author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into non-stop action thrillers.

Avanti Centrae is the author of the international multi-award-winning VANOPS thriller series. An instant #1 Barnes and Noble Nook bestseller, THE LOST POWER took home a genre grand prize ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, a shiny bronze medal at the Wishing Shelf Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. Her father served as a U.S. marine corporal in Okinawa, gathering military intelligence during the first decade after the Korean War. Her work has been compared to that of James Rollins, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler. She resides in Northern California with her family and German shepherds.

Visit the author's website - First six chapters FREE!
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Posted Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Adoption, ARC | Galley Copy, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, Contemporary Thriller, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Espionage, Fly in the Ointment, Foster Care, Indie Author, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Random Things Tours, Siblings, Spy Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature